Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

To survive this particular Sunday, I don’t want to write about Desmond Bishop officially signing with the Vikings, Aaron Rodgers getting shafted on the NFL top 100 list or Aaron Hernandez (allegedly) murdering a guy(s). Instead, let’s do a Packers hypothetical:

If Packers GM Ted Thompson calls you tomorrow, rattles off the names of two players, and says he absolutely has to cut one of  them and is calling you for advice, what would you tell him?

Here are the scenarios:

Tramon Williams or Casey Hayward?
I’d keep Hayward and cut Williams. Not an easy choice because I’m not as down on Williams as others, but I’ll take the young guy who isn’t as afraid of contact as Williams has been lately. Having young CBs like Sam Shields and Davon House on the roster would also help cushion the blow from losing Williams.

Mike Neal or Jerel Worthy?
One guy is prone to injuries, the other is actually injured. I’m keeping Neal and cutting Worthy. Neal has showed flashes of being really damn good when he hasn’t been in the trainer’s room. Worthy didn’t show me much last season when he was healthy — not enough explosiveness. I know Worthy is young and defensive linemen need time to develop, but based on what I’ve seen so far, I like a healthy Neal over a healthy Worthy.

Jermichael Finley or James Jones?
Now this is a tough one. I want to say I’d cut Finley and keep Jones, but for some reason, Finley still strikes fear into other teams. You still see coverage shifted to account for No. 88 even though he hasn’t been what I’d consider a playmaker in his career. He’s been a decent enough tight end, but not really a playmaker. Jones seemed expendable until he went nutso last season and I like his ability to go up and catch a jump ball every now and then. I also value a good wide receiver over a one-dimensional tight end, so I’d cut Finley. I might live to regret that decision, though. It’s a tough one.

Adam Czech, Jersey Al, Kris Burke, Chad Toporski, Thomas Hobbes, Jason Perone or Marcus Eversoll?

Jersey Al is up against the blogger salary cap and needs to cut one of his writers. Who gets the pink slip? Al won’t cut himself, nor should he because he built this empire into what it is today and is a living legend in Packers’ online universe. He can’t cut Chad because Chad just published the awesome series on the Packers defense and is in the prime of his career. Thomas stays because he’s really smart, and draws in the segment of our audience that refuses to join Twitter. Jason stays because he’s got a lot of potential and has the best podcast voice of our entire group. Marcus and Kris are another pair of up and comers and don’t count much against the cap. That leaves me, the guy who mixes in pro wrestling and text baseball simulations with his Packers writing. I’m also old and frequently hold out and ask Al for more money. If Al had to let one of us go, it’d probably be me. Uh oh, I better call my lawyer and my agent, just in case…

Packers News, Notes and Links

  • There is no reason to read anything else this Sunday besides Chad Toporski’s series on the Packers defense. Start here and be sure to read all of the installments. Seriously, forget all the other nonsense swirling around the NFL and the Packers at this moment in the offseason and just read Chad’s series. It focuses on football (imagine that?!) and will make you a smarter fan after reading.
  • I wasn’t kidding. All you need to survive this Sunday is Chad’s series on the Packers defense. Now, go read it!
  • If you’re a fast reader and still need something to help you survive this Sunday, listen to this podcast featuring guest Wes Hodkewicz from the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
  • If you need a little bit of drama on your Sunday, I suppose you could read this post from going off about ESPN, Internet police, and other stuff
  • A reasoned and  measured look at the lightning rod known as Jermichael Finley can be found over at Acme Packing Company.

Non-Packers Links and Other Nonsense

  •  If you still need something to get you through the day, watch this compilation of Ric Flair going nuts or this full Metallica concert from the …And Justice for All tour.

Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

LeBron James won his second consecutive NBA title with the Miami Heat on Thursday night and cemented his status as one of the greatest players of all time (at least among sane people).

I hated “The Decision” as much as anyone else, but I’m also over it. I don’t necessarily cheer for James now, but I make sure to appreciate him when I watch him play. James is an amazing, amazing, amazing athlete, and it’s a lot more fun to soak in what he’s able to do on the court instead of just calling him names and hating on him.

Anyway, James’ second title got me thinking: How many more titles will it take for Packers QB Aaron Rodgers to be considered an all-time great? He’s already considered great, but he’s not yet at all-time great status with the likes of Starr, Montana, Brady or Unitas.

Then I started thinking some more (always dangerous): Why do we need to attach an arbitrary number of titles to greatness? If Rodgers keeps producing like he has, but doesn’t win another title, should that significantly diminish how we view him in the context of greatness?

I suppose you have to have some criteria to separate certain great players from other great players in subjective arguments like this one, and titles might be a part of it.

You also have to factor in eras and the rules attached to each era. Defenders in today’s NFL can’t make contact with a WR beyond five yards, hit a QB too high, hit a QB too low, hit any player in the head, or fart too loudly in the direction of the quarterback. How many yards would Montana or Unitas throw for if those rules applied back when they played?

I guess I’m trying to say that while it’s sometimes fun to get into these debates about greatness and which player is greater than the other, don’t forget to actually enjoy the greatness while it’s happening.

Rodgers is on a roll right now. Soak it in.

There will be plenty of time to make comparisons down the road.

Packers News, Notes and Links

  • In a Q&A with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Packers coach Mike McCarthy called questions about his team’s toughness a “load of nonsense.” I love that phrase. If I were a politician, I would use it to discredit everything my opponent said about me. Perhaps the lack-of-toughness narrative has been overdone this offseason, but it has some merit. Injuries impacted the Packers toughness last season, but I can’t erase the images of Adrian Peterson doing whatever he wanted against the Packers defense. Until those images go away, I’ll think the Packers need to get a little tougher.
  • The Packers held a news conference to go over some of the new security measures announced recently by the NFL. Seatbacks and cushions are fine as long as they don’t have pockets that can conceal anything. Size regulations on purses and bags haven’t changed, but they need to be clear. Fans that require bags for special medical equipment will have a special gate to go through. Basically, the NFL will not be satisfied until a) everyone shows up to the game naked, or b) everyone just stays home and watches from their couch.
  • The Packers officially cut Desmond Bishop on Monday. Is everyone else as excited as I am to have Brad Jones and A.J. Hawk as the Packers starting inside linebackers? And by excited, I mean, pissing in your pants with fear? Repeat after me: In Ted we trust…In Ted we trust…In Ted we trust…
  • Aaron Rodgers wants to cut the number of times he’s sacked in half. THEN GET RID OF THE DAMN BALL!!!! Actually, Rodgers’ sacks don’t bother me as much as they bother most people. Obviously, getting sacked is not an optimal strategy for success, but Rodgers makes a lot of plays when he holds the ball a little longer and buys himself some time. As long the big plays keep coming, I can tolerate a couple of extra sacks.
  • John Rehor has the full Packers training camp schedule over at While you’re there, be sure to check out the latest podcast from the ‘Ol Bag of Donuts crew.

Non-Packers Links and Other Nonsense

  • RIP James Gandolfini. “The Sopranos” was the first show I ever became obsessed with.
  • Here is a disgusting story about “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes losing his “muffler.”
  • Here are 9,486 ways that president Obama’s press secretary gets around answering journalist’s questions.

Who’s Next on the Packers’ Chopping Block?


Could Tramon Williams fall victim to Ted Thompson’s axe before next season?

Packers fans have seen a lot of big names and sentimental favorites either cut or allowed to sign elsewhere in free agency over the last two seasons.

The most recent casualty was Desmond Bishop. The inside linebacker’s exit came after guys like Greg Jennings, Charles Woodson, Tom Crabtree and Scott Wells were given their walking papers or not resigned in the last two offseasons.

Of course, losing name players always gets a certain segment of Packers fans riled up. Never mind the fact that the vast majority of players cut or not resigned by Packers GM Ted Thompson have gone on to do very little once they’re picked up by another team. The initial shock of losing a player who fans have formed some type of connection with usually causes some sort of backlash.

So, who’s next? Which one of our beloved Packers will be axed by the evil Thompson or not resigned because Packers salary cap whiz Russ Ball says, “Screw the fans! This guy isn’t worthy half of what he’s asking!”

Here are some possible candidates (I tried to limit it to players that the fans generally like. Hence, Jermichael Finley was not included):

CB Tramon Williams
Throwing Williams’ name out there makes me feel like Skip Bayless, but consider: 1) Williams will be 31 next season; 2) He’s due to make $6.9 million in 2014; 3) He hasn’t been able to repeat the success he had in 2010; 4) The Packers have a lot of young talent in the secondary; 5) He’s been bothered by a bum shoulder going on two years now. Kind of sounds like a prime candidate to fall victim to Thompson’s axe, doesn’t it?

FB John Kuhn
If the Packers had any sort of confidence in the pass-blocking ability of the running backs currently on the roster, I think they would wave bye-bye to Kuhn and his $1.8 million salary today. Packers fans boo Kuhn whenever he touches the ball, anyway, so maybe they wouldn’t be too upset about this. Wait…oh, they’re saying “Kuuuuuuhn!” Never mind, fans would be pissed. But Kuhn isn’t going anywhere unless one of the young backs shows the immediate ability to read blitzes and be a shut-down pass blocker.

WR James Jones
This is a contract year for Jones, and if he has another season like he did in 2012, he’s going to want a big fat deal. Aaron Rodgers had to lobby to bring Jones back the last time he was a free agent, and even then, Thompson didn’t budge until Jones found out that nobody else besides the Packers wanted him. I wouldn’t put Jones in the fan favorite category yet, but if he’s rolling in November like he was last season, he probably will be. At least, he will be enough of a favorite to cause a little bit of an uproar when Thompson lets him sign an overpriced deal with the Vikings.

DL Ryan Pickett
Next season will be Pickett’s 14th. He’s a one-dimensional space-eater that still does what he does well, but can you see Thompson re-signing a 35-year-old fat guy? I suppose it’s possible if Pickett has another good season in 2013 — hell, anything is possible if the price is right — but I wouldn’t count on it.

Who did I miss? Remember, it has to be a player that the fans like, a guy you think has a legit shot of being cut between now and the start of next season, or not re-signed next offseason (For example, I think the Packers will re-sign B.J. Raji, so I didn’t include him on the list).

It’s time for me to stop writing about the Packers and start my work day before my boss takes out his axe and cuts me.

Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football asked fans to vote on their Packers Mt. Rushmore this week and it created some interesting debate on Twitter and talk radio.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the concept, the Packers Mt. Rushmore needs to consist of four people. It can be players, coaches, executives or whomever that you feel is one of the four most important people in Packers history.

This is a tough one. If there was an actual Packers Mt. Rushmore, it would need to go on the side of a very large mountain because four people is much too small.

As much as I love guys like Ron Wolf and Bob Harlan and acknowledge that the Packers might not be around without folks like them, I don’t know if I can put executives on a Mt. Rushmore. Isn’t putting executives on a Packers Mt. Rushmore kind of like putting Abe Lincoln’s chief of staff on the actual Mt. Rushmore instead of Abe Lincoln himself?

I’m also not sure coaches belong on a Mt. Rushmore. But that means leaving off Vince Lombardi and Curly Lambeau, which is just asinine.

If I knew that people wouldn’t burn down my house for leaving Lombardi and Lambeau off, I’d probably put Don Hutson, Bart Starr, Reggie White and Brett Favre on my Packers Mt. Rushmore. When the people arrived with torches and pitchforks to take care of me after leaving off Lombardi and Lambeau, I’d remove Hutson and White for the two legendary coaches.

Football will always be about the players to me. You absolutely have to have a good front office and coaching staff to make everything work, and I’ll say it again that the Packers are not the Packers without the executives and coaches I’ve already mentioned (along with many others).

But in the end, you have to wear a jersey and helmet instead of as suit and tie to make my Packers Mt. Rushmore.

Let us know who makes your Packers Mt. Rushmore in the comments section.

(And don’t yell at me too much for leaving Lombardi and Lambeau off my pre-torches and pitchforks Packers Mt. Rushmore.)

Packers News, Notes and Links

  • Jason Wilde reported this week that the Packers will release LB Desmond Bishop. Of course, this irked a lot of Packers fans who remember Bishop as the team’s best defensive player in 2011, before he blew up his hamstring in the 2012 preseason. It’s not like Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy get together each day and talk about what really good player they can cut today. There’s a reason Bishop’s likely gone, and it’s because the Super Bowl-winning coaching staff and general manager think he won’t be nearly as effective as he was pre-injury. Time will tell, but cutting players approaching 30 and coming off injuries rarely backfires for the Packers.
  • McCarthy is happy with the new crop of young players so far. That’s saying a lot since the Packers have had some impressive young groups of players over the years. It looks like the talent is there with this year’s group, now they need to not get struck down by the Packers’ horrible luck with injuries.
  • As we did this week, Acme Packing Company took a look at the Packers ILB depth.
  • Over at PocketDoppler, Kelly (one of the Out of the Pocket Podcast hosts at Packers Talk Radio Network), defines forgiveness as applicable to Brett Favre.
  • Brian Carriveau at CheeseheadTV isn’t buying Desmond Bishop being released for financial reasons…
  • Piggy-backing on the Packers Mt. Rushmore concept, which Packers number would you retire? I would retire William Afflis’s No. 62. Why? Because in addition to playing for the Packers, Afflis went on to become Dick the Bruiser, a famous pro wrestler.
  • knocked it out of the park again this week. Here’s an interview with rookie RB Jonathan Franklin conducted by the crew and here’s John Rehor writing about the latest Brett Favre developments.

Non-Packers Links and Other Nonsense

  • Jerry Seinfield’s web series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” is back and Sarah Silverman was the first guest on the new season. Excellent stuff.
  • I’d like to hear what the racially insensitive uncle would say about all them damn tattoos and earrings on pro sports players these days.
  • This book about people (sounds like a lot of hippies) hijacking planes in the 60s and 70s sounds awesome.

Which Packers Assistant is the next to Become a Head Coach?

Could Tom Clements be the next Packers assistant to become a head coach?

Could Tom Clements be the next Packers assistant to become a head coach?

John Schneider to Seattle. Reggie McKenzie to Oakland. John Dorsey to Kansas City.

A lot of talented executives have left the Packers front office for general manager jobs with other teams over the last three years.

Joe Philbin has been the only Packers assistant coach to land a head coaching gig in that time period. Philbin departed as offensive coordinator and took over as Miami’s head coach after the 2012 season.

There’s plenty of talent on the Packers coaching roster. Linebackers coach Winston Moss and safeties coach Darren Perry have been loosely linked to head coach openings in the past. Current offensive coordinator Tom Clements is also highly regarded for his role in the Packers’ offense and the development of quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Edgar Bennett has received some publicity lately as a firey up-and-comer. Kevin Greene is also an intense guy that could catch the eye of a general manager who wants a motivator as a head coach.

It’s impossible to predict which way the wind will blow on the assistant coach open market. One season an assistant might be the next big thing and a cinch to become a head coach. Then his team falters, he doesn’t get offered a head coaching job, and we never hear from him again.

Even Dom Capers was whispered to be on some team’s head coach lists after the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Can you imagine anyone offering Capers a head coaching job now? Doubtful, but if the Packers make a drastic turnaround on defense, you never know.

I consider myself an obsessive NFL fan — not just a Packers fan — and even I never heard of Mike McCarthy when the Packers hired him. Now, he’s one of the most successful head coaches in franchise history.

If I had to guess, I’d guess that Tom Clements gets a shot at being a head coach before any other assistant. Guys that understand offense and the quarterback position will always have an advantage in today’s NFL. Based on what little I know about Clements, he also seems to have the demeanor to be a strategic and level-headed coach.

But that’s just a guess. If you told me Moss or Bennett would make better candidates than Clements, I couldn’t argue with you. I’m just hoping that all of the Packers coaches do such an awesome job in 2013 that they all might end up as head coaches in 2014.

Which Packers assistant will be the next to become a head coach?

Winston Moss0%
Tom Clements0%
Edgar Bennett0%
Dom Capers0%
Kevin Greene0%
Darren Perry0%


Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Sometimes I wonder why Packers players and other professional athletes bother speaking with the media. If it wasn’t mandated by the league, would the incentive to speak to the press be enough to entice players to do it?

In years past, the answer would be yes. These days? I’m not so sure.

Interaction between the media and players is a big reason why sports have exploded in popularity. The media is supposed to be an extension of the fans. By speaking to the press, you’re essentially speaking to the fans. Sports wouldn’t rank as high on America’s cultural landscape without athletes like Joe Namath, Charles Barkley, Pete Rose and Wayne Gretzky being not only great players, but larger-than-life people and ambassadors for their respective sports through interactions with the media.

In other words, athletes used to need the media. Media exposure is a big reason why professional sports is now a multibillion dollar business and many athletes are multimillionaires.

These days, it seems like it’s the other way around. It’s media outlets that need the athletes.

For the purpose of this piece, I’m going to pick on the radio show Green and Gold Today. Before I do, I want to make clear that I listen to G&G Today daily and love it. I trust Jason Wilde on the Packers more than any other reporter and Bill Johnson is the rare combination of over-the-top, yet insightful.

But two things bothered me about the show this week and illustrate why I wouldn’t speak to the media if I were a pro athlete in this day and age:

  • Greg Jennings didn’t use Aaron Rodgers’ name in an interview with the St. Paul Pioneer Press this week. This may or may not be Jennings dissing Rodgers. Either way, Johnson said, “Last night when I read that I felt like a sucker. I was defending Greg Jennings. I thought he was different. I didn’t think he was just another dopey wide receiver that all they care about is the number of catches they get. All of that just went out the window. To me, he’s just another selfish guy…” Really? One quip in an interview changes your entire viewpoint on Jennings as a human being? So if Jennings just ignores the interview request from the Pioneer Press, would Johnson still think Jennings is a swell dude? I know Jennings probably doesn’t care what Johnson thinks of him, but how does Jennings benefit from doing an interview like this if people are going to make judgments about his entire character based on a comment or two? Jennings doesn’t benefit. But Johnson’s radio show sure does.
  • An ESPN report came out that said Ryan Braun may be one of many baseball players facing a 100-game suspension for using steroids. Wilde and Johnson wondered out loud if Braun — who is good friends with Aaron Rodgers — being linked to steroids reflects poorly on the quarterback. A couple of soundbites were played from a year ago where Rodgers defended Braun when the Brewers outfielder wriggled out of a steroid suspension because of how his urine sample was stored. Wilde and Johnson (rightfully) concluded that Braun’s steroid issues have nothing to do with Rodgers. But the whole situation shows why there is little benefit for an athlete to speak to the press. Rodgers stands up for his friend, and a year later, the soundbite is resurrected and played in a way that some folks may connect Rodgers to steroids. Most people won’t make that connection (at least most sane people), but some will, and likely have. Rodgers speaking to the press about the issue and being honest did nothing positive for his image or how he’s perceived. It did draw some attention to the radio show, though.

The media puts a microphone in athlete’s faces and wants them to be honest, say something unique, be insightful. Then when they are, we — the reporters who gather the quotes and the fans who read/listen/watch their stories — pounce. We judge who they are as human beings. We dig up old soundbites and make vague connections to scandals. We pick and poke and prod and yell and scream and come to all sorts of conclusions, some of them rational, many of them not.

How does this benefit the athlete? It’s definitely benefiting the media companies through increased viewership, readers, listeners, page views and downloads, but how does speaking with the press benefit today’s athlete?

In the past, most press was good press. There wasn’t nearly as much media and a lot of this stuff helped build huge followings for individual athletes, teams and leagues.

I’m a part-time sports reporter. I’m in clubhouses and locker rooms all the time. There are media members buzzing around like flies after most games, and I’m in Minneapolis, hardly a large market like Boston or New York. When I’m sticking my recorder in the middle of a media scrum trying to get a few quotes, I often wonder what the athlete would do if he wasn’t mandated to speak with us.

If I were the athlete, I would speak only on rare occasions. Why should I have to help a newspaper sell more copies or a radio show gain more listeners by giving them quotes and soundbites? I can communicate with fans on my own through Twitter and other social media outlets without using some dude with a voice recorder and notebook as a middle man.

As long as I perform on the field and help my team, my image should take care of itself. The rest I can handle through social media or a PR firm. I don’t necessarily need a reporter or third-party media outlet to get my name out there or enhance my image, or the league’s image, like in the old days.

As a serious fan, it’s great having guys like Wilde around the team to provide us with context and sift through a lot of the B.S. that coaches and players say. But as a player, there’s very little value in speaking to the media. It seems to create more headaches than it’s worth.

I wonder if the major sports leagues will ever reach that same conclusion?

Packers News, Notes and Links

  • John Rehor covers everything you need to know about Brett Favre accepting some of the blame for his divorce from the Packers. Things appear to be moving in the right direction. Hopefully No. 4 is retired at Lambeau Field in the near future.
  • The crew interviewed former Packers fullback William Henderson and it’s a must listen. Really great stuff.
  • Want an update on the Packer ILB situation? Well, the update is that there’s not much new to report.
  • Here is the first of many “Jermichael Finely will be more focused this season” stories that will run before week 1.
  • Could the Packers use the franchise tag on somebody in 2014? There are several good candidates.

Non-Packers Links and Other Nonsense

I was so busy this week, I didn’t have time to do much non-Packers reading. Help me out: Use the comments section to tell me what non-Packers stories I may have missed.

Packers Coach Mike McCarthy is Awesome

Packers coach Mike McCarthy is dedicated to his community work.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy is dedicated to his community work.

A lot of ink has been spilled and hot air bloviated this week about Brett Favre taking some of the blame for his split with the Packers and Greg Jennings possibly holding a grudge against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers after departing Green Bay for Minnesota.

Both of those topics merit further discussion. They also move the meter and bring out the passion — for better or worse — of Packers fans and media personalities.

Unfortunately, both of those stories broke around the same time Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel wrote an excellent piece about Packers coach Mike McCarthy and his commitment to both his family and community outreach.

Push pause on all the thoughts that are running through your head about when Favre might finally have his number retired as a Packer, or whether Jennings will send Rodgers a Christmas card this year, and read Nickel’s story.

I get that we don’t truly know the coaches and players that we cheer for every Sunday, but I am pretty confident that McCarthy is a helluva guy and about as genuine as they come. I’m really proud that he’s the coach of the Packers.

I’ve always been impressed with McCarthy’s demeanor throughout the season. He’s never too high and never too low and always remains resolute while looking forward. You can tell he would rather talk about Justin Bieber’s fashion sense than answer questions about the Packers sometimes, but he’s always respectful and provides at least some level of insight.

It looks like many of those same characteristics carry through to McCarthy’s community work and family life. He may tick fans off by calling for a 50-yard bomb on 3rd and 1 or not running the ball as often as we’d like, but any coach will tick off fans with stuff like that on occasion.

I’ve already written too much about this topic. Stop reading this, and go read Nickel’s story. Keep up the good work, Mike.

Fun With Round Numbers: Can Packers WR Randall Cobb Catch 100 Passes?

Can Packers WR Randall Cobb catch 100 passes in 2013?

Can Packers WR Randall Cobb catch 100 passes in 2013?

For a franchise that has had an all-pro caliber quarterback for the last 20 years, the list of Packers wide receivers with 100 catches in a season is short.

Very short.

No Packers receiver has caught 100 passes in a season since Robert Brooks in 1995. Sterling Sharpe is the only other Packers receiver to catch at least 100 passes, doing it in 1992 and ’93.

Compare that with Peyton Manning, who connected with Marvin Harrison (4), Reggie Wayne (4) and Dallas Clark (1) on at least 100 passes nine times. Or Tom Brady, who has helped Wes Welker go over 100 catches five times and Troy Brown once. Or Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens, who have five 100-catch seasons under Joe Montana and Steve Young.

The Packers have shown that you can still win Super Bowls and enjoy sustained success without a 100-catch receiver. Nonetheless, Aaron Rodgers has said that he thinks Randall Cobb is capable of catching 100 passes, if he stays healthy.

When the topic was brought up on Monday’s Green and Gold Today, co-host Bill Johnson said Rodgers’ comments were “troubling” and worried about Rodgers changing his spread-the-ball around approach and forcing the ball to Cobb.

I don’t think Cobb catching 100 passes would be “troubling,” but the Packers’ offense seems to function just fine with several receivers getting opportunities to make plays. But if Cobb happens to enter triple figures, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the other receivers have underperformed or Rodgers is locked in on Cobb and only Cobb.

Rodgers is adamant that he throws to whomever is open. If Cobb is open 140 times, and Rodgers throws to him successfully at least 100 times, so be it. It doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s locking on Cobb to the detriment of other receivers who are open somewhere else.

We like having nice round numbers like “100” to lock in on and establish some sort of benchmark. But those round numbers don’t always tell the whole story.

Sure, Cobb is capable of catching 100 passes. He’s a great receiver with a knack for adjusting his routes and finding open space after Rodgers scrambles. He also might get some more opportunities after the departure of Greg Jennings

But the number “100” is arbitrary. Cobb is also capable of making a tremendous impact with 80 catches. Or 65 catches. Or 72 catches. Or 94 catches. Or 90 catches if you want to stick with round numbers.

I don’t expect Rodgers’ approach to change much in 2013. I also expect Cobb to be even better in his third season that he was in his second, provided he doesn’t get hurt.

Will that lead to 100 catches for Cobb? Maybe. Either way, the only people who should feel troubled are opposing defenses.

Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

I had an idea for a new Packers offseason gameshow while driving home from work today.

The first nine years of my adult life I had a job where I took a city bus to work. It was nice to not burn gas and spend half my salary on parking, but I always had to stay alert so I wouldn’t get stabbed. There are some, ahem, interesting people that rode the city bus on my route.

Now I have a job where I drive 30 minutes to work, in my own car. Yes, I’m burning gas (free parking, thankfully), but I don’t have to worry about getting stabbed. This frees up my brain and allows me to think of all kinds of silly things, like my idea for a Packers offseason gameshow.

I’ve already filmed the pilot episode, and am ready to share the transcript with all of you today. I brought back the ghost of Richard Dawson to host my show, mainly because I crack up whenever I see old Family Feud episodes when Dawson tries to make out with all the female contestants.

The name of the show is Will Johnny Jolly Play for the Packers Before…


Richard Dawson: Welcome ladies and gentlemen to everyone’s favorite new favorite game show! The object of the game is to guess if Johnny Jolly will play a regular season snap for the Packers before another player currently on the Packers roster. It sounds confusing, but it’s not.

Even people who read Packers blogs should be able to understand it and play along at home. Let’s get started.

Female Contestant No. 1: I’m ready, Richard.

(Dawson leans in and gets a smooch)

Dawson: Will Johnny Jolly play a regular season snap for the Packers before running back James Starks?

Female Contestant No. 1: Oh, that’s a tough one. I wish Jolly participated in OTAs this week so we at least knew what kind of shape he’s in. But the injury-prone Starks could be on the chopping block with with Eddie Lacy and Jonathan Franklin on the team. I’m going to say yes, Jolly will play for the Packers before Starks because Starks won’t make the team.

Dawson: That’s a logical answer. Time will tell if you’re right. And if you are right, you win an even longer kiss from me!

(Female Contestant No. 1 vomits all over the stage)

Dawson: Alrighty then, that was awkward. Let’s go to the next contestant.

Male Contestant No. 1: You try and kiss me, we’re go to have issues, Dick.

Dawson: Whatever, tough guy. Here’s the next question: Will Johnny Jolly play for the Packers before Jerel Worthy?

Male Contestant No. 1: Oh hell yes. Worthy blew out his knee at the end of last season. I don’t care what he says, he won’t see the field in 2013. He’s no Adrian Peterson. Look, the Packers need defensive lineman. Jolly was a good one. As long as he’s in reasonable shape, he’ll make the team and play before Worthy.

Dawson: Can’t argue with that answer. If you win, you win nothing because I don’t like you. On to the next contestant.

Male Contestant No. 2: Survey says, I’m ready to play, Richard.

Dawson: Oh, we have a comedian up here. Alright, willy Johnny Jolly play for the Packers before Desmond Bishop?

Male Contestant No. 2: Reports of Bishop’s demise are premature, Richard. Bishop will start at inside linebacker and play before Jolly. If Jolly makes the team, and I don’t think he will, he’s going to need all of the preseason and at least the first couple weeks of the regular season to get in shape. Bishop will have 20 tackles, two sacks and a pick before Jolly even dresses for a game.

Dawson: Desmond Bishop’s agent agrees with that answer. On to our last contestant, a lovely female from Michigan’s U.P.

Female Contestant No. 2: Thanks for the smooch, Richard! The men don’t kiss like that where I come from!

Dawson: The men probably don’t do a lot of things where you come from. Final question, Will Johnny Jolly play for the Packers before Graham Harrell? There’s a catch to this question: Harrell must start a regular season game in order for it to count as actually playing. Mop-up duty doesn’t count as playing.

Female Contestant No. 2: If the answer to this question is Harrell, it’s going to be a long season, Richard. I’ll need more of those smooches to get through it. Packers fans have been lucky. Our all-world quarterbacks of the last 20 years have never had a serious injury and missed multiple games. I’m banking on that luck continuing, and Jolly playing for the Packers before Harrell gets a start.

Dawson: If Rodgers go down, I’ll be there for you, babe.

That concludes the first episode. Tune in next week when we ask if Johnny Jolly will play for the Packers before Don Barclay, D.J. Williams and Derek Sherrod.

Packers News, Notes and Links

  • B.J. Raji is hoping for a new contract and Packers coaches are hoping he gets better and shedding blockers. Raji hasn’t developed into the elite defensive lineman many of thought he’d be, but he’s still good. His main problem is getting blown off the ball too often when he lines up inside. An elite inside player in the 3-4 defense is able to absorb double teams, stand his ground, and every so often blow everyone off the ball and make a play. Raji isn’t that player consistently…yet. I’ve always had a feeling that Raji sees himself as more of a pass-rusher than he really is. I wonder if we’d see Raji take a major step forward if he really focuses on becoming a more athletic version of Ryan Pickett.
  • We knew Mason Crosby’s 2012 season was bad, but it turns out it was actually historically bad. I feel helpless writing about Crosby. With position players, we can at least watch film and pretend that we know what we’re talking about when we critique and criticize. With a kicker, all we can really do is get mad when they miss kicks and do our best to not haul our television up to the roof of our house and launch it off. We don’t really know why kickers miss kicks, we just know that they do, and we get angry.
  • This is an interesting perspective on why the Packers may have moved Bryan Bulaga from right tackle to the left side. The numbers show that Aaron Rodgers fares much better when facing pressure from his right side instead of his blind side. That’s not necessarily a shocking revelation — most QBs probably do better when they can actually see the pressure coming. But I’ve heard a fair amount of grumbling about offensive linemen once again being shuffled around, and this might explain why yet another shuffle is taking place.
  • The Packers are still tinkering with Mike Neal standing up and playing some outside linebacker. As long as they don’t ask him to cover tight ends or running backs on pass routes, I’m fine with a little bit of tinkering. Ultimately, I’m thinking Neal sees little, if any, time at outside linebacker, but he might stand up as the lone defensive lineman in some funky defensive alignments that Dom Capers like to bust out.
  • Packers legend Gilbert “The Gravedigger” Brown was this week’s guest on Cheesehead Radio. It’s a must-listen, so fix yourself a homemade Gravedigger Burger and give it a listen. After you listen to Brown’s interview and visit the bathroom after eating that Gravedigger Burger, be sure to listen to some of the crew chatting about OTAs and catching up on Packers news.

Non-Packers Links and Other Nonsense

  • Bill Simmons said a really stupid thing on his podcast this week. I mean a really stupid thing. Of course, this got people all up in arms and calling Simmons an idiot. I’m the biggest Simmons fan, but I don’t put him in the same category of stupidity as people like Skip Bayless or Stephen A. Smith. So Simmons put his foot in his mouth? Big deal. When you’re write and talk as much as he does, it’s bound to happen. No need to freak out about it.
  • If you’re at your kid’s kindergarten graduation, don’t get in a fight, please. Actually, what’s the point of a kindergarten graduation? There are too many graduations these days. My Facebook feed has been littered this spring with parents posting about their kid “graduating” from pre-school, kindergarten, middle school, high school, college and grad school. I am instituting a new rule: You only get to celebrate one graduation. If you burn up that graduation celebration in pre-school, you’re done. You don’t get to have any more graduation celebrations or ceremonies the rest of your life.
  • Shameless plug: As part of my new job, I run a blog that focuses on corn farming and other aspects of agriculture. I’m trying to build a readership, so if you’re into that sort of thing, give it a look and check back throughout the week.